London is a fascinating and multifaceted city. From numerous historical buildings and probably the best shopping opportunities to the free museums, galleries, green spaces, and Casino Sites. London has a lot to offer. So much, that it takes weeks, if not months, to explore all the beautiful facets of this metropolis on the Thames. Even if you have been living in London your whole life there is always something new to discover. Here is a list that will not include the tourists’ favourites like Oxford Street, Trafalgar Square, or Madame Tussaud’s. We will show you the real London and places that are not overrun by tourists or where you have to pay expensive entrance fees. Kind of places that you have heard of but always postponed visiting them or places you have actually visited in the past but are worth revisiting and being rediscovered by you.
Real Foods Market
The metropolis is a city full of great markets, but my absolute insider tip for London is the Real Foods Market, which is located in Southbank right behind the Royal Festival Bank. Here you will find delicious food from all over the world, from chorizo and churros from Spain, Indian curries, ice cream from Italy or bratwurst from Germany. The market isn’t quite as hectic as its famous brother, Borough Market near London Bridge, but it’s worth a weekend visit. The market is open from Friday to Sunday. However, the later you go, the fuller it is. Therefore, it is best to get up early to secure the tastiest bites.
London is also famous for its many museums, which are generally free to enter. My insider tip: the Geffrye Museum, in East London (near Hoxton underground station). Here you won’t encounter hordes of tourists, but you will learn how the way of life of Londoners has changed over the last 400 years, both in terms of furnishings and everyday objects. The museum is very interesting and the “Period Gardens” behind it invites you to take a stroll.
London Kyoto Garden
I have to mention another great place among the London parks: Holland Park in West London is a beautiful and romantic park with a hidden gem inside – Kyoto Gardens. These were created in 1991 based on the Japanese city of Kyoto, which stands for culture and Zen (just think of flawless bridges and ponds).
If you run out of breath with all the sights, I recommend a break in style. Make your way to Hammersmith, into one of the pubs that overlook the Thames. On a warm summer’s day, this area is very lively, you can meet many locals standing on the sidewalks in front of the pubs with a pint of beer or cider and having a chat.
London Thames Trail
If you feel like taking a walk after visiting the pub, it’s best to start at Hammersmith Bridge and follow the Thames Trail. Here you can relax and do not even notice that you are actually in a metropolis of millions.
Little Venice is another insider tip in London that you should visit. As the name suggests, you will find many canals and houseboats here, some of which have been converted into cosy cafes or restaurants. Start your walk behind Paddington Station and enjoy the tranquillity of this charming neighbourhood.
My next secret tip for London will take you to the Daunt Bookshop, an El Dorado for anyone who loves travel guides and is looking for inspiration for their next big adventure. Here you will find a large selection of travel guides, maps, historical books, and novels, all on 3 floors with cosy corners – a real book heaven!
When we talk about gardens, we shouldn’t forget the parks. There are over 3,000 of them in London and on a sunny summer day, there is nothing better than walking or chilling out in one of them. Hyde Park may not be an insider tip, but have you heard of Speaker’s Corner near Marble Arch? The British are famous for their talent for both humour and discussion. To demonstrate this ability to speak and to celebrate freedom of speech, speakers have been meeting in this public place since 1886 – from grandmothers to politicians to celebrities such as Karl Marx and George Orwell.
My next insider tip for London is in the north of the city. Here, on one of the highest hills in the city, is the beautiful Alexandra Palace. A former palace, which is now used for numerous events, festivals, and open-air cinemas. In the middle of the palace, there is also a beautiful ice ring, on which you can skate both in winter and summer. Alexandra Palace also has a huge park, including two lakes and probably the best (and free) view of all of London!
You may know that London offers a colourful mix of numerous cultures. You wouldn’t have thought that the largest Hindu temple outside of India is in the borough of Brent, east of London, did you? In fact, the Neasden Temple, real name Shri Swaminarayan, is a really impressive structure made of marble and limestone. Unfortunately, the temple is not always open to tourists, so it is best to check the official website before visiting.